I am packing for the trip to Pravets Resort. Wonder which dress I should take for the gala dinner? It is going to be something special. It would be like in the fairy tales, I’ve heard.
This post was written and published in 2017 as a collaboration between me as the owner and writer of (my previous blog) When Woman Travels, Riu Pravets Hotel and The Girls from the City and published in Bulgarian on their website.
Travel Academy Conference
My trip is not for a holiday. I’m going to a conference, the Travel Academy. For two days we will be talking about tourism, strategies, and business opportunities. And about the problems of Bulgarian tourism, of course. We hope to push things for improvement.
This is not my first time at Riu Pravets Hotel and Resort. I’ve been with my friends on one-day trips several times. We enjoy the view, the delicious club sandwich, and the incredible peacefulness of the place. And while my girlfriends were disappearing in the hotel’s spa, I walk around. Nature here is so beautiful that it always feeds me with positive energy.
But this time I’m here not for pleasure (or so I’m trying to convince myself). Travel Academy is a conference designed to create a modern and innovative competitive environment for the development of tourism in Bulgaria. The topics and discussions are organised according to the interests and needs of the tourist companies, and new for Bulgaria topics are discussed.
Riu Pravest Hotel, now Pravets Resort
Upon arrival, the checking-in is going fast and smoothly. I’m getting into my room without any difficulties. (I usually fight with the hotel card keys for a few minutes before I can open the door!). Entering the room, the only thing I can say is “wow” and my words are over.
… I stay glued to the terrace for a long time, unable to move away from there. The view acts as an adhesive sticking to my astral body.
Looking around my room, I see that the bed is huge! It is actually two single beds put together but the comfort and space are provided. The bathroom and everything else are perfectly clean.
When I was studying Hospitality Management, our professor used to say: “The best sign of cleanliness in a hotel is the lack of any hair in the bathroom.” You know, those small, long bastards in different colours that inevitably show someone else’s presence in “your” bath before you.
The goal of every respectful hotel is to prepare the room in such a way that the guest can feel like the first customer. Well, Riu Pravets managed to convince me at all points.
The rest of the day I spend in the company of a colleague, also a travel blogger. We are bloggers and we haven’t checked our social networks for the whole two hours!
We sit at a table that is strategically positioned to absorb as much as we can from the lake view. In front of us are cakes in captivating red colour and freshly squeezed juices. We are mistaken in that we eat healthily.
The truth is that when a woman is in a place that brings to life the deeply asleep pleasure of life, usually suppressed by the big city and the day-to-day routine, she embarks on trying every aspect of this pleasure.
At Riu Pravets you inevitably do two things – slow down and truly relax. The location of the hotel is convenient – an hour’s drive from Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. And it makes you feel like you are on a planet where large cities don’t exist.
But don’t be mistaken! This is not a boring place. There is so much to do. While men play golf, the ladies can take advantage of the variety of treatments at the spa. Riu Pravets is a luxury hotel, but what I like about it is the lack of fences. It is not separated or hidden from the rest of the world. The environment is flowing around the hotel as a slowly bending river. If you go out, you see the town’s people fishing on the lake, the children riding bikes, and young parents with infants walking the alleys.
The next morning, before the conference starts, I go to the spa to take some photos. Two smiling ladies clean thoroughly. The same thing I see in the corridors of the hotel where, also smiling, women clean the wall panels and correct each other in case they miss a spot.
Well, I’m impressed. If I was only a guest, I would not pay attention. But I’m a maniac with a degree in International Hospitality Management. These tiny details show me more than the beautiful interiors or the taste of the food. The Riu Pravets’ staff is trained so that every guest feels welcomed and served with joy. Aren’t we all looking for this when we travel?
Sustainability and Responsibility at Pravets Resort
The conference begins and the organisation is almost perfect. I learn a lot of new things about tourism trends, and I get to know a lot of people in the industry. My main joy is that this year’s Travel Academy theme is sustainable or also responsible tourism.
I am no longer surprised by the choice of place. Riu Pravets can be given as an example in this regard. I was impressed by the absence of abundance. By that I mean – I had just as many towels as I need, as well as bathroom accessories. I have always wondered why hotels waste so much on things that the guest really does not need and use!
The time of the long-awaited fairytale gala dinner comes. We dress accordingly and go to join our colleagues. “Wow” has to become an important part of the hotel’s slogan. This is the exclamation that occurs in the head of a person unexpectedly and almost at every step. You go into the spa and see the walls of water surrounding a staircase, worthy of a queen. And you say “wow!“, because you are short of words.
You go out on the coffee terrace, see the wide panorama in front of you and say “wow” once again. From the first moment, we see the hall ready for the gala we feel like princesses, queens, important people … We feel special.
I will briefly mention that the food is delightful (Chef, thanks for the unique Brulee cream, I will not forget soon its taste and beauty!).
After two days during which we listened to numerous presentations and discussions, I leave with the good feeling that the Bulgarian tourism industry is developing, albeit slowly, in the right direction. More and more companies and industry professionals understand how important it is to work for long-term results and bring innovations.
There is one thing I’m sure of. With hotels like Riu Pravets (now Pravest Resort), tourism in Bulgaria has a good future. Because even the all-inclusive hotels can have their authentic face and leave you with a sweet aftertaste of the experience.
Like that, the next time I hear Pravets Resort, one sentence will come to my mind – “Wow! Girls, let’s go (again)!”
To learn more about the hotel, it's location and sevices, click here. At the moment of publishing, the resort is temporary closed and will reopen in April 2023.